Trenton: Heat Causes Health Crisis at Kingsbury Towers

Source: The Trentonian

Residents of the city’s Kingsbury Towers endured scorching heat the last three days while air conditioning was out at the notoriously troubled high-rise.

Moms huddled outside with their kids Thursday afternoon, some in canopied strollers to protect them from the sun, as oven-baking temperatures soared inside the towers, residents said.

City and state inspectors were called in, as legislators feared many “special-needs children” left suffering inside the towers, including one whose breathing issues were exacerbated by the stifling heat.

“Children with feeding tubes. Children with respiratory issues and no air. You cannot have a person with a trach and you cannot have a person with respiratory failure with no air. You just can’t,” council president Kathy McBride told The Trentonian in an interview outside the East Tower.

Aaliyah Jackson, who moved into the East Tower at the beginning of the year, said it was between 92 to 95 degrees in her East Tower unit the last three days.

She and another bald woman undergoing cancer treatment complained that management was slow to respond.

“They got air in the office while we out here suffering,” Jackson said. “As soon as you walk in there, you’re dripping with sweat.”

With no word from management when the air would be back on, people trucked in floor fans to cool down the apartment units.

“Those fans don’t do nothing,” one frustrated man said.

A woman at the front desk of the West Tower repeatedly said “no comment — we’re not allowed to talk to you.” One of the security guards who escorted Trentonian reporters off the site for “trespassing” said that Trenton Mmyor Reed Gusciora was “invited” to the towers, so that’s why he wasn’t being asked to scram.

The problems at the towers have been well-documented:

Records later obtained by The Trentonian showed that state regulators had found at least 417 building code and fire violations at the towers during a 2018 inspection.

The year before, a geyser-like pipe burst soaked several floors of the East Tower.

And in 2017, residents dubbed the towers a “death dungeon” after a broken elevator prevented first responders from reaching 42-year-old Shontae Ellis while she suffered a cardiac arrest on the 15th floor of the East Tower.

Brittany Pace, who relocated to the towers from Passaic about seven months ago, said her unit floods whenever it rains. “I don’t mind paying the rent. But I want to live comfortably. I want to kick my feet up,” said Pace, who bought plastic roll to try to keep her floors from getting damaged from the downpours.

Pace fears water penetration has made conditions ripe for mold, and is concerned how that impacts her asthmatic son.

Mayor Gusciora said the city was putting up high-risk residents in hotels until the air conditioning is fixed.

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